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MTSU Coach: Terps Pass Rush was 'Non-factor'

I just talked with Middle Tennessee State Coach Rick Stockstill, who said he was surprised that Maryland did not rush the passer much, particularly with his offensive line being young. At one point, he had two redshirt freshmen and two true freshmen on the offensive line, yet Stockstill said Maryland’s pass rush after the first quarter was a “non-factor. We had a lot of time to sit back there and throw the ball.” Stockstill said he expects to face a far tougher defensive line this week when MTSU plays Kentucky. Stockstill also said he wanted to get his playmakers into open space because he felt MTSU matched up “favorably from a speed standpoint" against Maryland.

Here is more from Stockstill on his game plan and how it worked so well”

“We knew we could not match up with them physically because they were bigger and stronger than us,” Stockstill said. “We thought if we could make it a space game, get our guys out in space, I thought we matched up very favorably to them from a speed standpoint. We wanted to control the tempo and go as fast as we could from a no huddle to try to keep them off balance, to limit them from being able to substitute or be able to get their calls in as smoothly as they wanted to. We tried to keep them off balance and I thought we did that. We didn’t complete a bunch of balls down the field. The first pass was a 30 yarder but most of the other stuff was quick, with slants and screens and some fades in the end zone. We wanted to spread the field, and I think we are in great condition, and I thought we were able to convert good on third down and really keep them off balance.

“Our coaches did a great job of that. Our players controlled the line of scrimmage. Toward the middle of the second quarter and into the second half, their pass rush was a non-factor. We had a lot of time to sit back there and throw the ball. We didn’t give up any sacks. At one time, we were playing two redshirt freshmen and two true freshmen in the offensive line going against that defense, so I thought our guys did a great job up front pass protecting.

Q: Were you surprised that Maryland did not rush the passer more often?

“To be honest with you, yes,” Stockstill said. “When you have three or four freshmen in the offensive line, only playing the second college game of their life, I was surprised our guys did as well as they did.”

By Eric Prisbell  |  September 8, 2008; 12:21 PM ET
Categories:  Football  | Tags: Rick Stockstill, pass rush  
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This is getting ridiculous. The opposing coaches can see what those sitting in the stands have been watching for a couple years now. Cosh can't coach defense. We don't get one sack against UDel or MTSU. Could the Terps be the first defense to end the season without one sack for an entire season?

What happened to all those comments about how Navarre was so good during the summer he was hurting the confidence of our offensive line?


Posted by: Anonymous | September 8, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Cosh could be the worst hire of a coach at MD since Bob Wade.

Posted by: Mariolucasforthree | September 8, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Hard to pressure the QB when 4 out of 5 passes are some version of a WR screen. That said, how's about we walk those CB's up to take that away? I'd rather be beaten on downfield passes than with that papercut-like passing game.

Also, the QB carousel has to stop. Portis might make some plays with his feet, but when he comes in when we're down 10 and doesn't throw the ball on 3rd and 6 or 4th and 7, that's moronic. Of course Turner wouldn't have done anything anyway except throw another pick into triple coverage, but at least that's trying.

Posted by: WPE | September 8, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

This is absolutely infuriating!

Posted by: SB | September 8, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

What's infuriating is the idea that we have the talent (at most positions, QB excepted) to do well, so it really must be all on the coaches at this point. They are not putting the players in position to succeed. I'll be loyal to Ralph to the bitter end, but he needs to wake up.

Posted by: ICBomber | September 8, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

if a QB trips over his lineman's feet or his own feet and falls down in the backfield, is that considered a sack? I think that's the gameplan we have to go for.

I echo the sentiments about Navarre. All summer long we heard how he was a terror to our offensive line. He was being compared to Chris Long and the coaches had to sit him down because he was so disruptive to our O-Line (this all from what I read and saw).

Maybe that's a reflection of our O-Line instead of Navarre's ability? I hope not.

At some point it would be nice to see some defensive adjustments to counter what the other team is doing. It would also be nice to see the other team's QB have to sweat a little.

Posted by: Sam | September 8, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Some stats from the NCAA site on Cosh as a D Coordinator. Out of 119 D1 programs (2007). Mediocre would be an improvement...

Maryland (2007): Total Defense: #40, Scoring Defense: #24, Rushing Defense: #53

Maryland (2006): Total Defense: #84, Scoring Defense: #51, Rushing Defense: #96

South Carolina (2003): Total Defense: #53, Scoring Defense: #63, Rushing Defense: #71

Michigan State (1998): Not Available on NCAA site

Posted by: CoshSux | September 8, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm bringing my own popcorn to the Cal game. Its either going to be great or a horror movie of epic proportions. Either way...I'll be ready.

Posted by: bigTerp | September 8, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I don't know how you can blame Portis for not throwing the ball when they are calling Option plays. Even in an option pass play the pass is the third option. those are gimmick plays and you can't expect him to convert a third and 6 or fourth and 7 with his arm if he has 1 or 2 wr's running a route and his offensive lineman run blocking.

Posted by: Lee | September 8, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Maryland's defensive line is a complete joke.

I have seen a better pass rush by Pop Warner and CYO teams.

Prediction for Maryland's upcoming game --

Califonia - 48
Maryland - 13

Maryland will finish with a 3-9 record (good for last place in the ACC - even behind Duke)

I am glad that Maryland is no longer recruiting Tavon Austin.

Jelani Jenkins and Travis Hawkins will be signing with the University of Florida.

Posted by: Dennis | September 8, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Middle Tennessee State (Sunbelt Conference) - 24; Maryland (ACC) - 14

California - 66; Washington State (PAC-10) - 3

Is there any doubt what the outcome will be this week? Maryland could barely beat UDel in week 1 and lost to an even lower-profiled school this week. And what is it with running Portis to the left repeatedly even on 4th and 6?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 8, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Wake up Terps fans - Ralph is a horrible coach and even worse recruiter. He stepped into a program, taking over the reigns from Ron Vanderlinden who by no means wasn't much better at coaching but he was just coming up on those few years where the recruits he had brought in were starting to get serious playing time and become starts. Then in steps Ralph and he has some good seasons with Ron V. recruits. But wait...after they leave and its time for Ralph to recruit and coach...the story has written itself. One disappointing season after another. Ralph needs to go and so does Gary Williams (we'll save that topic for basketball season).

Posted by: Anonymous | September 8, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey anonymous - don't forget about where this program was before big ralph came back. The fat genius has done enough to ensure his job security at least thru the next couple of years. Ditto Gary. Damn fairweathers.

Posted by: Fredneck | September 8, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm an ardent Terps fan but I cant remember the last time I was so bewildered and frustrated at the football team. Probably the late 90's. I see a lack of emotion, lack of intensity, lack of ANY kind of killer instinct to finish off an opponent when they have them down. There has seemed for the past few years to be a sense of entitlement among the team - they expect to do well so they forget they have to bust their butts to make it so. Another season like the past few is going to push me over the brink!

And then there's the underachieving basketball team to look forward to!

Posted by: CSH | September 8, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

See if you wanna talk abotu Ralph that is fine you have an argument. But the second you actually think you can run Gary out of town and not sound like a fool you lose ALL credibility. Death penalty to 1st championship in school history in 12 years = at least 2 straight losing seasons (Gary has had 0) before you get run out of town. Facts of life.

Posted by: Lee | September 8, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

UMD still getting clowned by Middle Tenn St even after the game

Posted by: wes | September 8, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't the offense the problem Saturday night? 24 points when the other team has the ball for 40 minutes and your QB gives it to them on the 5 once really isn't all that bad...

Posted by: Lee | September 8, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I am even more flabbergasted now then before reading the comments by the MTSU coach. We couldnt even outperform 4 freshmen on the offensive line for a team that plays somewhere near Siberia. Nothing we can say on this blog can really be any worse than Ralph himself stated about their coaching job. It was embarrassing and a few more embarrassments this year will hasten the demise of the once prodigal son Big Ralph.

Posted by: zman | September 8, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm just speechless.............

Posted by: virtueandvice | September 8, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

To the person who said "remember where the program was befor Ralph got here", the answer is pretty much just where it is now. The only question that needs to be answered is "Why are we 7 years into the Fridge era and have 3 QBs that aren't worth spit?"

Posted by: TerpfanMA | September 8, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The terp football club has now achieved what took Gary Williams years: making mediocre opposition look like top ten teams. Last Saturday, Mid Tenn looked like a very good team indeed. Last year, American U basketball was made to look just as good.

How are we to explain this remarkable ability to inflate the performances of the opposition? After all, it's unthinkable that our guys have been paid off. Divine intervention? Nah, the stakes are too little for that.

What about false pride? Do our guys somehow believe that they are really, really good and their opponents correspondingly unworthy? Or could it be that the Terps are really, really mediocre?

I'll have to agree with an earlier post that it's only 3 football wins this season. And it seems there's evidence that it's an exaggeration to write that our guys are mediocre - because they're much worse than that. In Maryland mens' FB and basketball, it's last in the ACC, I fear.

Posted by: ancient terp | September 8, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't anybody asking why we forgot about Da'Rel Scott after he ran for 123 yards on 11 carries(11.2 avg.)? Wasn't that good enough to keep running him? We were still in the game when we gave up on him. He had 105 yards on 7 carries before half-time. This would've kept our defense off the field a little more and rested for the mighty MTSU offense.

I understand a certain amount of mixture in the play-calling, but why not run first, then set up the big throw to Heyward-Bey?

I'm not ready to throw Ralph under the bus yet. I remember 15 years of futility after Bobby Ross left. However, there is a disturbing trend over the past four years at Maryland. I've been a season ticket holder now for three years and I'm waiting to see how they do the rest of the season before I decide on next year. The university has kept the pressure on the fans to fill the stadium each week. The fans have responded but the results haven't improved.

Posted by: Chip Phelps, Class of 78 | September 8, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous - like they say on TV, let's go to the videotape. Vanderlinden took over a squad that had gone 6-5 and 5-6 the previous two years, and proceeded to go 2-9, 3-8, 5-6, 5-6. Seems like maybe he was making some progress, but thank goodness he was playing Temple and Duke, and Wake was still sucky. That last year, after having his own recruits for four years, he still could not get to the magic six win level. Two of the losses were to UVA and UNC, both of which finished the regular season 6-5, so Terp wins in both those games and both those teams have losing records.

This year's team is underachieving, which falls to the coaching staff to correct. If there's no bowl game this year my bet is that Ralph finds a new DC next year, because somebody has to take the fall. Two years in a row of no bowl, and the big guy gets an early retirement. But the reality is that Friedgen did more with RV's recruits than RV did with his own or with Duffner's. And Ralph brought in the QB as a transfer that he had for his second and third seasons. The simple fact of the matter is that Ralph has raised the bar since he has been at Maryland. And now the expectation is that he should be able to compete every year for conference championships, which is as I believe it should be. I am not satisfied with just barely being bowl eligible, but it sure beats one bowl game in 15 years which was the stretch we were in before he arrived.

Posted by: Jack57 | September 8, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Good post Jack. I find it hilarious that people on these boards are so short sighted. I am a mere 27 years old and I remember going to Byrd, leaning back on the bleacher behind me, putting my feet up on the one in front of me, and having a football toss while a football game went on. The biggest crowd of the year was when FSU came to town to win 55-7, the years they didn't BUY OUT our home game. Don't get me wrong, the loss Saturday night was the worst loss I cna remember, but its week 2 in a somewhat long season. Terps win 7 games (think of what some of those 6 wins would have to be) and it's a footnote.

Posted by: Lee | September 8, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Again, why aren't we using the speed we have? Scott and Heyward-Bey were the only bright spots offensively yet they couldn't find a way to get them the ball more often?

Jack is right about the expectations, but the reality is the ACC added better teams in their expansion, yet the ones they thought would be great (Miami, FSU) have dropped off. The teams we used to stomp (Wake, UVA, etc.) have gotten better. Why can't we improve? We beat Miami and FSU in the same year, 2006, for the first time, but we haven't improved since then, we dropped off again last year. Consistency is needed or the fans will stop supporting the team again.

Posted by: Chip | September 8, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Correct me if I am wrong, but, the defense played the same scheme for the bulk of the MTSU game as they do every other game... rush 3, drop 8. You can't expect Navarre and company to pressure the passer when it's 3 vs 5 for 90% of the plays. Any half-decent college QB could sit back there and pick you apart when you have that much time.

Other notes... O line could not pass protect, which is rediculous. We only gave the ball to Scott 1/2 the times we should have. Hey-Bey barely touched it even though he's a threat to score on every play. Why can't MD seem to get the ball into their playmaker's hands? We give up a fake punt on the first drive and if you read MTSU's coaches comments, it's because they saw something in the coverage that they could take advantage of.

I know the kids have to play and execute, but the coaches have to put them in the best positions to succeed. Are they doing that? It seems to me it's a consistent "no".

Posted by: DBriles | September 8, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Ralph and Gary share one thing: unmatched stubborness no matter how badly things are going. In Ralph's case, he never liked Chris Turner and has been in the kid's head ever since he got here. Turner is no Elway, but with more confidence and support would probably be a decent QB. Hard to gain that when you seen the hook coming no matter how well you do and rarely, if ever, hear a word of praise from the coach.

Posted by: Pearl77 | September 8, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Maryland is not a good football team this season. Live with it.

Posted by: Reality | September 8, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Each year is increasingly more frustrating. I look at all of the other D1 big football programs and they are loaded with Maryland talent. How come?

Posted by: 6th and D | September 8, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

My frustrations about this year's team is that they don't seem to have any emotion out there. They were getting out-hustled, out-ran, and out-celebrated by MTSU. Even the players admitted that they weren't paying attention to what Fridge had to say about MTSU. Personally, if you can't muster any spark, any emotion for any game, then you don't deserve to wear that uniform. You need to get psyched for whoever is playing against you. Yeah, they may not be Clemson or FSU, but it's still a game and they all count.

I don't know, it used to be that an undefeated season meant something. Maybe the whole BCS crap with LSU destroyed that mentality, but still...

There better be some fire coming out of those boys come saturday against Cal. Turner needs to stop being so laid back and tentative and get in somebody's grill when they drop a pass. Like it or not, it's his team now. the Defense needs to blitz every down and hit somebody till their black and blue. Everybody needs to get Fired Up... cause if you aren't you can bet for darn sure Cal will be.

Posted by: Mr. G | September 8, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm wondering how many of the fans calling for Ralph's head actually watch every play of every game and everything that happens in between each play. I know that I certainly do.

Against a team that runs a conventional offense, watch carefully in between each play when we are on defense and see how many defensive lineman and linebackers rotate in and out of the game. That's how lineman stay fresh. That's what defensive linemen need in order to continually provide pressure. When a team runs a no huddle there is no time to rotate anyone in and out because they'll just snap the ball and catch a defense not in position. So all things considered, i thought the defense played well enough to win if the offense had shown up.

So last week everyone said we needed to throw the ball more. Now this week, everyone says we need to run the ball more. We tried to throw and Turner was floating passes all night. On all 3 INT's the ball never should have left his hand.
He also waited too long on most of the screen passes that he threw. So don't cry about how bad the O-line is when they're running the play they're supposed to. The ball needs to come out fast and Turner wasn't doing that.

When it comes to Portis, for some reason I think I remember seeing something that Ralph said saying that Portis is given both a running play and passing play to choose from at the line. If he can't realize when there are 7 or 8 men in the box that he needs to go with the passing play, then that's not completely on Ralph. That might also be why he isn't playing more. However, Ralph might want to consider only giving him one play so he doesn't have to think about it.

People can question Ralph's recruiting too, but go look at all of the local kids that he already has locked up for next year. Some will wonder how has he not kept all of the local talent at home. Can you blame a kid for wanting to leave this area? I've lived here all of my life and am starting to consider leaving the area. This area isn't for everyone. And if you honestly think that UMD should be able to keep every local kid that comes from the area, you're crazy.

Sorry for how long this is, but I just couldn't take any more of our fans overly-reactionary dribble. It's a long season, so let's see how it ALL plays out first.

Posted by: do any of you pay attention? | September 8, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Start Portis. Coaches say his athletic ability is "freakish." What good is potential if it is not utilized and developed?

Posted by: Rman | September 8, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Shameful. People inside the program now realize Charlie Taafe and Gary Blckney made MD football. Ralph is incredibly arrogant and a terrible leader who has alienated supporting high school programs around the state with his NJ/NY/FL "first" attitude. He has developed a loser mentality of excuses and is finished here at MD. Really tired of his OVERSIZED antics..

Posted by: TerpNumber1 | September 9, 2008 1:07 AM | Report abuse

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